Everybody is Upset About Civilian Casualties in Gaza
But where do the numbers come from?
By Robert Spencer
The Israeli defensive action in Gaza has become, we are told, a massive humanitarian crisis, and it must stop. All the most trustworthy people in the world tell us so.
“The United States is unequivocal; international humanitarian law must be respected. Too many innocent Palestinians have been killed,” declared putative Vice President Kamala Harris on Saturday. “Frankly, the scale of civilian suffering and the images and videos coming from Gaza are devastating.”
Then on Monday, the Associated Press, with a fine regard for journalistic objectivity, reported that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Soviet Union) and what it called “a robust group of Democratic senators” were “done ‘asking nicely’ for Israel to do more to reduce civilian casualties in Gaza.” These fearless solons “warned President Joe Biden’s national security team that planned U.S. aid to Israel must be met with assurances of concrete steps from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-right government.” Sanders thundered, “The truth is that if asking nicely worked, we wouldn’t be in the position we are today.” AP added, “It was time for the United States to use its ‘substantial leverage’ with its ally, the Vermont senator said.”
To buttress their indignation and increasingly shrill demands, Harris and Sanders and the rest can look to no less an authority than the United Nations. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on Sunday published a chart of “Reported Casualties” in Gaza, and the numbers look grim indeed: over 15,523 deaths, with 4,257 women and 6,387 children making up fully 70% of that figure. The far-left establishment media is putting out substantially the same figures; the UK’s Guardian wrote Tuesday that “in the last three days, bombing has been heavy, and the total death toll since 7 October has risen to 15,899.”
These figures not only aroused the righteous indignation of our nation’s leftist self-appointed voices of conscience, but they moved the antisemitic Unz Review to the heights of hysteria: “We are certainly witnessing the greatest televised slaughter of helpless civilians in the history of the world, with nothing even remotely comparable coming to mind.”
Oh my, that sounds terrible indeed. But let’s step back for a moment. If you follow an asterisk down to the small print, you’ll see that the UN attributes its figures for Palestinian casualties in Gaza to the “Ministry of Health” and the “Government Media Office.” Which Ministry of Health? Which government? The UN doesn’t say, and its reticence on this point is likely due to the fact that the government and Health Ministry in question are those of Hamas in Gaza. The Guardian likewise attributes its figures to “the Gaza health ministry.” Yes, that’s right: the one that Hamas runs.
This would be like the New York Times during World War II reporting massive German civilian deaths in an Allied offensive and attributing its data to Josef Goebbels’ Propaganda Ministry. Hamas obviously has very good reasons to inflate the number of Palestinian civilian casualties: the higher the numbers, the angrier Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Antony Blinken get, and the closer the Biden regime moves to cutting ties with Israel and isolating the Jewish state completely.
This will come to no one’s surprise, at least not to anyone who isn’t a woke millennial TikToker, but Hamas is obviously lying. A board member of the media watchdog Honest Reporting who goes by the single name Aizenberg took a close look at the day-to-day casualty figures that the UN publishes from Hamas and found a large number of significant anomalies. “It is immediately obvious,” notes Aizenberg, “that Hamas does not report ANY combatant deaths & the numbers amazingly seem to indicate that IDF bombs & bullets disproportionately hit women, children & elderly. The IDF CANNOT seem to hit too many fighting age men.” But also, “the numbers are faked.”
On Oct. 19, for example, the total casualty number increased by 307, from 3,478 to 3,785. Yet at the same time, the total number of children killed went from 853 to 1,524, an increase of 671. Nor was that the only time such a thing happened. On Oct. 26, the total number of casualties increased by 481, while the number of children casualties went up by 626. Clearly, the Hamas Ministry of Health in Gaza is not too concerned that people will study these numbers closely; the idea is simply to shock and appall people with Israel’s alleged inhumanity, and that is working well enough.
The likes of Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders may fall for this. No reasonable person should.